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April 18, 2010 / theoldsilly

Letters From the Mission Field – To Love the Least

Today I am pleased to again have my brother, Kevin Wilson, as guest poster, sharing with us another message from his spiritual journey while serving time behind bars. You need not be imprisoned physically to learn this valuable lesson, for we all have lived, in some, perhaps many ways, incarcerated by our own selfishness and unwillingness to glorify God through the helping of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Enjoy the read, reflect, meditate, pray if you do that, and please leave your thoughts in the comments. I now give you Kevin D. Wilson …

To Love the Least

It is Tuesday, only three days before his arrest, trial, and crucifixion, and Jesus has retreated to the Mount of Olives to try have a few moments alone. It has been a crazy week. Only two days before He had been welcomed into Jerusalem as a conquering hero, but things took a much different turn when He entered the temple on Monday and drove out the money-changers in anger.

Then again, on Tuesday, He had re-entered the temple. That time, he had confronted the Pharisees and scribes, calling them hypocrites, fools, and blind guides. In front of the very people whom they were appointed to be spiritual leaders, Jesus correctly called them out for their narcissistic and decidedly unspiritual lives. In doing so, He had sealed his fate. It would only be a matter of time before the Jewish leaders would have him arrested, severely beaten, and crucified.

Now here He is, once again on the Mount of Olives. So often in the past had he been here, whenever he needed, as he does now, to escape the crowds. Peter, James, John and Andrew approach Him. They ask Him to tell them what the signs will be, signalling the end of times. Jesus describes to them the events that will take place just prior to the end of time and His second coming. He also shares some possibilities with them that emphasize the importance of remaining vigilant and prepared.

Jesus goes on to describe an incredible scene that will take place at the end of time during which we will all stand before His throne to be judged. He tells how He will separate the sheep—those who will spend eternity in heaven—from the goats, who will be banished away to eternal punishment. He describes the sheep as those who fed Him when He was hungry, gave Him drink when He was thirsty, invited Him in though He was a stranger, clothed Him when He was naked, visited Him when He was sick, and came to Him when He was in prison. He describes the goats as those who did none of those things for Him.

At this point both the sheep and the goats are confused. They don’t recall ever having been in a situation in which they had the opportunity to serve Him in such ways. Jesus says to them:

“Truly I say unto you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even to the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Mathew 25:40)

***

The past couple of months have been very dark and lonely for me. One of the most difficult aspects of being incarcerated is the constant in-my-face reminder that I am no longer a respected member of society. From the condescending attitude of some of the supervisors at my job, to the ever-present corrections officers, many of whom seem to thoroughly enjoy being as demeaning as possible to the inmates, I am constantly reminded that I am now considered to be stupid, dirty, and barely human. Add to that the fact that my former wife, the woman who once professed her undying and unconditional love for me, abandoned me when I needed her most, stabbing a knife into my heart by having divorce papers served to me on Christmas Eve … a savage, surprise act of vengeance, just a couple months after my arrest. It was crucifying. She now thinks of me as some kind of monster. Add to all that, the reality that I have faded from the memory of most of those whom I once considered to be my friends, some of them best friends, and … you can perhaps envision how the constant attack on my damaged psyche can sometimes send me into this pit of despair in which I have found myself of late.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am being rightfully punished for my foolish and inexcusable behaviour and deeds, those many years ago. I deserve every bit of what I am now facing. I took ownership of that responsibility when I signed the confession. I honestly hope and pray that the fact that I am being punished is comforting to those whom I have hurt in the past. I am facing my punishment like a man and I am determined to be a better person when I emerge on the other side of it.

Sadly, though, the reality is that I will never again return to a position of respect in society. For the rest of my life here on earth I will be looked upon with scorn, disdain, and mistrust. By my own hand I have reduced myself to the lowest common denominator in a society that doesn’t look kindly on, or have compassion and forgiveness for, those who have erred and broken the law.

Throughout the nightmarish ordeal I have been striving to determine anything and everything that God is trying to teach me. This is the seminal event of my life. My journey on this planet has been radically and forever altered; it is crucial that I now find the path that God has chosen for me and follow it faithfully to the end.

Recently I was reading the passage in Mathew mentioned above and the Holy Spirit brought two things to my mind:

One, He wants me to learn and know first-hand exactly what it is like to be one of “the least of them”. Believe me, I am learning that one, and it is no fun.

Two, when I was living large and barely giving any thought to my spiritual life, I was most definitely a goat, not a sheep.

Oh sure, I was not a mean person, I never kicked a homeless person in the teeth or anything, and I know that a good portion of my sizeable tax bill each year went to programs for the less worldly fortunate than I. But I rarely gave the downtrodden a single thought, let alone ever went out of my way to lend them a helping hand. Stupid goat.

How ironic. Now I am among the downtrodden. The State of Michigan feeds me when I am hungry, provides me water when I thirst, shelters me though I am a stranger, clothes me to cover my nakedness, cares for me when I am sick, and … never lets me out of its sight. An imprisoned goat am I. Upon my release, I will re-enter society with nothing but my name and the clothes on my back. But enough of my going on and on about woe is me. I would ask you to please allow me to close this piece with a prayer.

“Dear Lord, it is so sad that it took all of this for You to get my attention, but I am glad that You finally do have it. Although I am very saddened by the pain I have brought down upon myself, I want You to know that I am determined to cling to You and to become the man that You created me to be. I am tired of behaving as a goat. When I stand before your throne on the great Day of Judgment I want to be counted among the sheep. My life is no longer my own; I now realize it never was. My life is now given freely to You, Yours to do with as You please. I pray that you will continue to mold me into the man that You want me to be. Above all else, Lord, I pray that You will teach me to love ‘the least of them’ more than I love myself. Amen.”

~~~~~

Thank you Kevin, for this special Sabbath post. Let’s show him some love in the comments, people. And let’s all do more to help out the downtrodden, and in so doing, bless ourselves and do God’s good work, hmm?

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14 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. yvonne lewis / Apr 18 2010 5:56 am

    An excellent write Kevin. hope all is well with you.
    Take care.
    Yvonne.

  2. jamesbrett / Apr 18 2010 6:05 am

    kevin, i appreciate much what you’ve said. i don’t know you or your situation, but i know that our Father disciplines us so that we can share in his holiness. and it seems as if you are indeed sharing in it now. and it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace after your “training.” blessings on you.

  3. Stanley Berber / Apr 18 2010 6:45 am

    Very well written and meaningful post, with a lesson for all of us, Kevin. Thanks for sharing, brother, and keep the faith. You might be amazed at how things will turn around for the better once you have served your sentence … God obviously has a plan for you even if you can’t see all of it yet.

  4. Cactus Annie / Apr 18 2010 6:48 am

    Great to hear from you again, Kevin, I missed you here of Free Spirit lately. As always, I was inspired by your writing, your commitment to follow the Will of God, and I continue to pray for you. Stay strong and in His path, you’re going to be fine.

  5. Terri Dryden / Apr 18 2010 8:06 am

    Kevin,
    I don’t know how to let you know that I understand your journey. My son is home now, it’s been 2 years and he is still “learning”. He struggles everyday to earn respect back.
    Remember, you are going thru part of the journey but it will not be over once you get home.
    God has a plan. We don’t always know what it is but keep your faith, you will get there.

  6. L. Diane Wolfe / Apr 18 2010 9:42 am

    Kevin, you might emerge from prison on the low end of society’s scale, but it is God’s scale that matters. You will face a battle, but God’s armor is stronger than anythiing in the world.

  7. Elizabeth Spann Craig / Apr 18 2010 9:47 am

    Great to hear again from you, Kevin, and best wishes on your journey!

    Elizabeth

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  8. Kissie / Apr 18 2010 10:27 am

    Thank you for sharing, my Pastor said something this morning that resonated as I read this.

    God is not concerned with our comfort as much as our development. And, look at what is and has happened thus far.

  9. Mason Canyon / Apr 18 2010 11:04 am

    Very inspiring post Kevin. Wishing you continued good health and a long journey with God. What is between the two of you is what counts the most. Have a Blessed day.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

  10. Alex J. Cavanaugh / Apr 18 2010 1:43 pm

    That is really powerful and humbling, Kevin.

  11. Leeuna / Apr 18 2010 2:08 pm

    A very inspiring post, Kevin. Keep the faith and things will work out fine. All things work to the good for those who love God. Blessings to you.

  12. ReformingGeek / Apr 18 2010 6:55 pm

    That’s another great post, Kevin. Blessings to you.

  13. tashabud / Apr 19 2010 6:00 pm

    Wow! What an amazing love and dedication to God after what has happened and is still happening in your life, Kevin. I am blown away by your post and couldn’t stop crying when I read this part: “my former wife, the woman who once professed her undying and unconditional love for me, abandoned me when I needed her most, stabbing a knife into my heart by having divorce papers served to me on Christmas Eve …”

    A person can only take so much, and for that to happen in addition to everytning else… I agree. It is crucifying.

    Stay strong, Kevin. Your ex-wife and best friends may have abandoned you, but God hasn’t, Marvin hasn’t, and we, your newly-found blog friends, will not abandon you. We’ll be praying for you.

    Best wishes,
    Tasha

  14. Connie Arnold / Apr 20 2010 9:49 am

    You have learned a powerful lesson, Kevin, and thank you for sharing it with us. Many people never learn this, and although you feel like a goat, God is definitely transforming you into a special, beloved sheep! Praying you find comfort in God’s loving presence within you as you are molded to be more and more like Christ.

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